Couple's goal: Make assisted living feel more like home
George Mitchell knows the transition to an assisted-living situation can be difficult for aging adults.
When his mother took a fall and had to be checked into an assisted-living center while she recovered, she couldn't wait to get out.
"She had to be in that facility for a while and she did not want to be there," Mitchell said, "but when I started sharing some of the ideas I had, she said, 'Sign me up.'"
Those ideas were the inspiration for the Mitchell House of Powell, a small home that specializes in caring for adults with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
The business will open its doors in October at 53 Sharp St., just north of the Four Corners intersection in downtown Powell. It currently has just one resident ready to move in.
The small home has space for just five adults. That makes it the first of its kind in Powell and a true alternative to traditional assisted-living facilities, which can house dozens of residents, Mitchell said.
"Our philosophy is that when you put that many people together, you're creating an over-stimulating environment," he said.
Adults suffering from dementia do best in a calm, comfortable space that feels like the home they left, he said.
The Mitchell House itself is a renovated one-story residence. In addition to five bedrooms, it has three full bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a porch and a large back yard with a patio and deck.
Mitchell is opening the home with his wife, Debbie Mitchell, who is a registered nurse with a background in caring for older adults.
Mr. Mitchell's background is in hotels and hospitality, so he said providing top-notch service comes naturally. Part of that service is one-on-one attention and care.
Each caregiver will attend to about two residents at a time. The home will staff an average of two caregivers during most hours, compared to larger centers, where one nurse might care for more than 10 people at once.
The Mitchells hope their residents will feel comfortable with the small staff and cozy environment. Residents won't be bound by a strict schedule or routine.
"If they want to sleep in or go get a snack, they can," Mrs. Mitchell said. "This is their home and we want to make it feel like that to them."
They also plan to schedule therapeutic activities to keep residents active and alert, including arts and crafts, gardening, exercise and other simple activities they say can help stimulate memory and improve communication skills.
The package doesn't come cheap. A room at the Mitchell House is more expensive than space at most other assisted-living facilities, Mr. Mitchell said.
He said interested families may call him at 614-506-2890 to discuss pricing or visit the website themitchellhouseofpowell.com.